New social housing tenant says Bellambi house riddled with mould, plumbing not connected

A woman who moved into a social housing property in Bellambi, north of Wollongong, says the house had a putrid smell, was covered in mould, and months later still has disconnected plumbing.

Mich Gray says she was given the keys in May 2021 only to find the house was virtually uninhabitable.

She paid to get the carpets cleaned twice, then ripped them up.

Ms Gray said it revealed rotten floorboards underneath which the NSW Land and Housing Corporation eventually replaced, but problems with disconnected plumbing in the bathroom remain.

“The carpenter got under and said ‘your bathroom’s not plumbed’, and he goes ‘there’s no waste pipe’,” she said.

When Mich Gray lifted the carpet she found rotting floorboards underneath.(Supplied: Mich Gray)

Ms Gray said her concerns about the house did not mean she was ungrateful after waiting over 20 years on the public housing waiting list as a survivor of domestic violence and a parent.

Need to value public housing

The CEO of the Tennant Union of NSW, Leo Patterson-Ross, said there were many people like Mich Gray living in awful conditions that need to be fixed.

He said the problem was tenants had to really fight to get things done and the importance of public housing was understated.

Mouldy carpet.
Mould was uncovered in multiple locations around the house.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

“What they are trying to do is check off a process, tick the boxes, and that can miss the humanity in the middle of it,” Mr Patterson-Ross said.

“The problem is resources and essentially it comes down to that we don’t value public housing.

“As a community, as a society, we don’t say that public housing is this really fantastic community good that we should really value, hold on to and cherish.

A woman in her home.
Ms Gray’s matter is still before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

A spokesperson said the NSW Land and Housing Corporation was working with Ms Gray to address the matters she raised.

A further inspection is expected to be undertaken this week, with additional work to the bathroom to be completed by the end of the month.

“We take tenant concerns about properties very seriously,” the spokesperson said.

The matter is still before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-17/social-housing-wollongong-riddled-with-mould/100917092